Corrosion tests of several US martensitic and austenitic steels were performed in a forced circulation lead-bismuth eutectic non-isothermal loop at the Institute of Physics and Power Engineering (IPPE), Russia. Tube and rod specimens of austenitic steels 316/316L, D-9, and martensitic steels HT-9, T-410 were inserted in the loop. Experiments were carried out simultaneously at 460degreesC and 550degreesC for 1000, 2000 and 3000h. The flow velocity at the test sections was 1.9m/s and the oxygen concentration in LBE was in the range of 0.03-0.05wppm. The results showed that at 460degreesC, all the test steels have satisfactory corrosion resistance: a thin protective oxide layer formed on the steel surfaces and no observable dissolution of steel components occurred. At 550degreesC, rod specimens suffered rather severe local liquid metal corrosion and slot corrosion; while tube specimens were subject to oxidation and formed double-layer oxide films that can be roughly described as a porous Fe3O4 outer layer over a chrome-rich spinel inner layer. Neglecting the mass transfer corrosion effects by the flowing LBE, calculations based on Wagner's theory reproduce the experimental results on the oxide thickness, indicating that the oxide growth mechanism of steels in LBE is similar to that of steels in air/steam, with slight modification by dissolution and oxide dissociation at the liquid metal interface. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.